A woman who had ‘tried most drugs under the sun’ by the age of 18 has turned her life around, earning $120k a year as a model and photographer.
Heidi Lavon, who was raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, puts her drug use as a teenager down to ‘boredom’ because of how ‘dark, cold and remote’ the area was, leading her to start smoking weed when she was 12.
She experimented with mushrooms, then ecstasy, before moving on to harder drugs such as meth, coke, and krank.
After suffering violence and abuse in her younger years, Heidi cleaned up and vowed she will never return to her meth-addicted past. She now charges brands around $300-$600 per Instagram post, with some even paying her a monthly salary of between $2,000-$4,000.
It wasn’t always like this though, with Heidi referring to her adolescence as ‘sad’ and emphasising how ‘easily accessible’ drugs such as weed were for a 12-year-old to get their hands on.
The model explained:
I started smoking weed when I was 12. It was easily accessible, and my friends older brothers and sisters always had it.
My friends would take alcohol from their parents’ liquor cabinet, then refill the bottle with water. That quickly escalated to mushrooms, then ecstasy. Then meth, and coke, and krank – krank being the dirtier, grosser version of meth.
I even tried crack, which was disgusting. It tasted like car parts and engine fuel. This was all by the age of 18, by the way.
As time progressed, Heidi found herself in a ‘very horrible and abusive’ relationship, enduring physical, mental, and emotional abuse for years. One time, she described herself as being ‘picked up and slammed into mirrors,’ while another time she said she was left for ‘days on end’ alone in sketchy motels.
One partner beat her so hard she went limp, Heidi explained, adding: ‘I would literally just take it, I’d not even open my mouth’. After around six years of using drugs and suffering ‘horrible things’ which she described as ‘torture’ – as well as two serious DUIs which led to a driving ban – Heidi decided to get clean.
I was sick and tired of seeing my friends die, or go to prison. Sick of being sick, sick of being broke, sick of the disappointment from my friends and family.
I used to shove anything I saw up my nose. Quitting is the best thing I could have done for myself. I have so much clarity now.
Heidi puts her recovery down in part to her fiancé James – a US Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan before having part of his leg amputated, and who has now also become a tattoo model – whom she met on a photoshoot.
Heidi is now able to sell fully retouched photo sets to brands and magazines for their editorial and promotional use for between $1,000 and $1,500, having taught herself Photoshop Lightroom in her spare time.
Because her fiancé shoots her pictures, the model doesn’t have to ask the permission of any photographer to use her own photos as she wishes, and she’s able to retouch them herself and finish the business deal, something she describes as being ‘really beneficial’.
Since getting clean, Heidi says her skin, endurance, body, and mind have all drastically improved and says: ‘I have actual muscles now’.
The couple are currently having their new home built, something Heidi says she ‘could have never done before’, with the model saying she is ‘delighted’ to be where she is now in life.
Whereas she previously described herself as a ‘beautiful disaster,’ the model says she no longer has a need to chase the high you get from drugs because she’s found it in ‘real love’.
If you want friendly, confidential advice about drugs you can talk to FRANK. You can call 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or email via http://www.talktofrank.com/contact 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Or Live Chat at http://www.talktofrank.com/livechat from 2pm-6pm any day of the week.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).